DUCATI 916

The year 1994 conjures a few vivid images that remain crystal clear even a quarter of a century later. Who can forget the helicopter shots of OJ Simpson’s bizarre low-speed police chase, for instance? 

In the UK the grisly crimes of Fred and Rose West were splashed across the front pages and the World Cup dominated the back. It was when we were first told “It could be you” as the National Lottery was launched, and The Fast Show emerged to define a generation of comedy.

It was also the first time that you could walk into a bike showroom and see Ducati’s 916 in all its glory. My first look at one, tucked among the more mundane offerings at Motorcycle City in Farnborough, stuck in my then-teenaged in the mind just as clearly as those Fast Show catchphrases and the helicopter shots of OJ’s white Ford Bronco.

Hundreds of bikes have been launched since then, but none have been as influential as the 916.

 

25 years of the Ducati 916

 

916: Genesis

The 916 first reached buyers in 1994 but that was the culmination of a process that had seen the bike unveiled to a stunned press the previous autumn after several years of development under the guiding hand of Massimo Tamburini, who was responsible not only for the aesthetic decisions but also the technical choices that made the 916 stand out from the competition.

We’ll start with the styling, since it’s without doubt the element of the 916 that initially grabbed the attention. The advent of projector-beam headlights – which first appeared in cars in the latter half of the 1980s – meant that bike designers gained the freedom to move away from the traditional round or rectangular lights that previously defined front-end styling and experiment with new shapes. The idea of two slit-shaped lights might be a common one on bikes now, but the 916 was a pioneer in the field.

Those lights were needed because Tamburini’s styling borrowed heavily from the work done by Pierre Terblanche on the Ducati Supermono racer, which first introduced the arrow-shaped side profile to the nose that the 916 would later take on. Tamburini also grabbed inspiration from Honda’s NR, the oval-pistoned 750cc V4 that first appeared as a concept bike at the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show. It pioneered several cues that would later be adopted by the 916, with Tamburini himself admitting it influenced his design. As well as slit-shaped twin lights, the NR also featured a single-sided swingarm and shotgun-style under-seat exhausts, both design cues that would become key features of the 916.

The underseat pipes in particular were a relatively late change to the 916’s design. Initially it was intended to use side-mounted pipes; in that respect perhaps the 916’s baby sister, the Cagiva Mito that also appeared in 1994 and shares near-identical styling, is arguably closer to the original design.

 

1994:

Although it was first unveiled at the 1993 Milan show the 916 wouldn’t reach production until the following year – and it’s worth remembering that Ducati of the early 1990s was a very different company to the giant it has become today.

At the time it was part of the Cagiva group, owned by Claudio Castiglioni, and spent much of its time teetering on the verge of financial collapse. So while demand for the 916 was strong in its first year, production levels were relatively low. In fact, the rapturous reception that the 916 received arguably saved Ducati, leading to the 1996 takeover by investment firm Texas Pacific Group which helped consolidate Ducati’s fortunes for the next decade.

Initially, the 916 appeared in monoposto (single seat) Strada form, making 114hp. That’s precisely 100hp less than its modern equivalent, the Panigale V4, achieves – impressive progress in 25 years. A higher-spec 916 SP was also introduced with a claimed 126hp thanks to a significantly different, twin-injector version of the Desmoquattro engine with race-oriented internals.

 

25 years of the Ducati 916

 

1995: 

The first-year 916 Strada was replaced in 1995 by the twin-seat Biposto model and Ducati also launched the first 916 Senna – a project that had been instigated before Ayrton Senna’s death in 1994. It combined the standard Strada/Biposto spec engine with a handful of chassis parts from the SP, along with a black paint scheme, red wheels and a smattering of carbon fibre. Just 300 were made, but later ‘Senna II’ and ‘Senna III’ models would boost that total.

 

1996: 

The focus was on racing, and while the basic 916 Biposto street bike wasn’t updated Ducati spent the early years of 916 production constantly fiddling with high-spec, limited-edition versions to homologate racing parts. In 1996 the firm introduced the 916 SPS, featuring a 996cc engine, and also built even smaller numbers of a bike called the 955SP with a 955cc capacity. Ducati had been racing with a 955cc engine in WSBK since 1994, but needed to build 50 road-going examples with the same 96mm bore to be allowed to use the 955cc motor in AMA Superbike racing in America.

 

25 years of the Ducati 916

 

1997: 

The racing-inspired changes continued with the introduction of the 916 SPS. While it added just one letter to the name of its predecessor, the latest development included a largely new engine with redesigned crankcases to allow the motor to be bored out to 996cc, pushing nearer the 1000cc limit in superbike racing. Power for the new 996cc motor rose to 134hp. A second run of 916 Sennas also appeared in 1997.

 

1998: 

The big news for 1998, at least in the UK, was the introduction of the Ducati 916 Foggy Rep. Ostensibly a race-rep tribute to Carl Fogarty – hence being aimed at the British market – the Foggy Rep was actually a sneaky move to homologate a revised frame and airbox for WSB racing. With 202 made, Ducati produced enough to satisfy WSB production minimums at the time.

 

1999: 

As the end of the millennium neared, the Biposto version of the 916, which had missed out on most of the race-inspired updates of the previous few years, was finally in for some love – getting transformed in the process into the 996. That number reflected its new engine capacity, which now matched that of the previous 916 SPS (it became the 996 SPS in 1999, too).

 

25 years of the Ducati 916

 

2000: 

While the 916 didn’t officially exist in Ducati’s range anymore, the subsequent models still tend to generically go under the ‘916’ banner as they were simply modified versions of the momentous original. There was another capacity change for 2000 as the 996 SPS was replaced by the 996R, which despite its name had a 998cc engine – the first of Ducati’s Testastretta (‘narrow head’) V-twins. This design, with a narrower angle between the valves, allowed a bigger bore and shorter stroke, providing racing versions with a substantial power increase.

 

2002: 

The introduction of the 998 in 2002 saw the bike’s name catch up with its capacity once again as the 998cc Testastretta engine spread across the entire Ducati superbike range. This final fling for the legendary Tamburini-designed machine also got tweaked styling, with new, flat fairing sides replacing the vented originals and making for the smoothest-looking ‘916’ derivative yet. With the 998, Ducati adopted the naming convention that it’s retained to this day – a basic ‘998’ was joined by a higher-spec, Ohlins-suspended 998S, and the homologation-special version was the 998R. Special versions included Ben Bostrom and Troy Bayliss replicas, the green ‘998 Matrix’ to celebrate the 996’s appearance in The Matrix Reloaded, and finally the 2004 998 Final Edition that was sold alongside its replacement, the Pierre Terblanche-designed Ducati 999 that had been revealed in 2003.

 

25 years of the Ducati 916

 

Ducati 916: Racing record

In many ways Ducati was the greatest beneficiary of the creation of the World Superbike Championship in 1988. The firm was a contender from the very start, winning the second WSB race ever held and taking its first title in 1990 thanks to Raymond Roche and the 851.

The 888 superbike would go on to win two further titles with Doug Polen in 1991 and 1992, but the 916 was the first Ducati to be designed from the ground up with the new championship in mind.

Its first year of production was also its first in competition, and Carl Fogarty took the 955cc race version of the 916 to the 1994 title, repeating the feat the following year. It was a 916 on top again 1996, this time thanks to Troy Corser. A massive effort from Honda saw the RC45 take its sole WSB title in 1997, but the 916 was back in top again with Foggy in 1998 and 1999 (by then on the renamed 996).

Honda won again in 2000, having given in and built its own 1000cc V-twin to compete with Ducati, but Troy Bayliss brought the crown back to Italy again with the 916’s 996R development in 2001. That gives the 916 and its derivatives an unbeaten six WSB championships. Will we ever see a bike that manages to combine jaw-dropping beauty, technical innovation and competition success to such a level again?

GET YOUR KNEE DOWN

If you’re into riding fast, like we are, then there’s no greater sensation than getting your knee down. Like sex, you’ll always remember your first time. Also like sex, it’s probably going to be a lot easier than you think it will be, you just need to get your body position right. Here’s how to get your knee down. 

The thing with knee down is that it’s kinda pointless. It won’t make you faster, it won’t make you safer and ignore what you read about in forums — you’ll never catch a lowside on your knee. But, it looks awesome, it feels awesome and your friends will think you’re awesome when they see your scuffed knee pucks. The things you need to do to drag knee can help with speed and safety though. Look at knee down as a sign of proper riding form rather than an end unto itself.

It should also be stated that there’s a lot more to safe, competent, fast riding than dragging a knee. We’ll address other skills another time. For now, let’s just concentrate on this, assuming that you already know how to do things like look through a corner, use your brakes and not run into obstacles.

Step One: Get the right equipment. You’ll need a sport, standard or supermoto type motorcycle with good tires, good suspension and reasonable ground clearance. You’re also going to need, at the very minimum, a two-piece leather suit with knee pucks. Not only are you going to be pushing the limits of your own performance capability — meaning you need to wear safety gear — but the articulation offered by a real riding suit makes all the difference in attaining the proper body position.

Step Two: Find some good corners. If you’ve got the funds and a track close to you, book yourself into a track day. Tracks have ambulances, corner workers to pick you up when you fall and instructors who can help translate this advice into reality. Tracks also don’t have cops.

This is the part where we tell you that riding fast and dragging a knee is illegal, dangerous and just a terrible idea. It’s not big and it’s not clever to ride outside of your ability anywhere, anytime or speed when you’re around other drivers, pedestrians or homes. It can also be a bad idea to do it in the middle of nowhere. Out on some mountain road you might find yourself injured and unable to move to safety or find help in an area without cell phone service. So if you’re going to do this on the road bring a buddy, a tool kit, a tire repair kit, a first aid kit and some water. Know how to use all of the above. Having passenger pegs on your bikes is also a good idea as it can save some serious walking.

An ideal road corner on which to get your knee down for the first time is likely going to be taken in second gear, be smoothly paved, have good vision, plenty of runoff and choose uphill rather than downhill. A nice place to turn around on either side of a series of corners is also a good idea. Watch the yellow lines, car drivers won’t.

Step Three: Work up to pace. Start at a nice easy speed, trying to string corners together smoothly without much in the way of heavy braking or acceleration. Gradually up your speeds, limiting how fast you go on the straights to not much faster than you’re going in corners. The goal here is to work up to a good corner speed and lean angle, not to test your brakes. Your tires and your brain need time to get up to temperature and adapt to reacting at speed. Take it easy, don’t push, just do what feels comfortable. Develop a flow.

Now is a good time to learn from your faster friends too. In racing, this is called getting a tow. Ask them to lead you through the corners at a reasonable pace. Watch what they do, where they are on the road, where they’re braking and where they’re accelerating. You can learn a lot doing this in very little time. Don’t feel pressure to keep up though. If they’re riding too fast for you to comfortably follow, just hang back and ask them to slow down next time. Experienced riders, it’s your responsibility to help your friends.

Step Four: body position. This is where it starts getting technical. Way back in 1983, Keith Code put a chapter about body position in “A Twist of the Wrist.” It, along with motorcycle technology, has evolved in the ensuing three decades. The current style — which is designed to work with modern tires, modern suspension and modern motorcycles — is to move once butt cheek off the seat, move your head low and to the inside, stretch your outside arm across the tank and point your inside elbow towards the ground. The main goal is to move your center of gravity as far to the inside of the corner and as low as possible. This means the bike will lean less at a given speed, which in turns means more grip and more safety. Hanging off also allows you to stand the bike up quicker on a corner exit, allowing you to get on the gas earlier. Hanging off means more outright corner speed is possible.

Modern sportbikes are built with this in mind and riding them with the correct form is necessary to fully access their performance potential.

Most guys you see riding on the street sit as far forward as possible with their heels hooked on the pegs and their feet sticking out like a duck. That effectively makes you a dead weight on the bike, harming performance. If you’re talking about getting your knee down, you’re talking about riding a motorcycle as a sport. Start treating it like one by riding your bike athletically.

First, pick your feet up. You want to have the balls of your feet on the tips of the pegs. This will keep your boots off the ground and allow you to put your weight onto the pegs when moving side to side.

Next, scoot back in the seat. Where, exactly, you’ll sit depends on you, your bike and how your suspension is set up.

MOTORCYCLE HELMETS

For all audiences and budgets. We believe that these helmets are the best considering also their quality/price ratio. Below you have a list of the best motorcycle helmets of 2019. What do you think about it?

  • Shoei Neotec 2
  • AGV K-1
  • Scorpion Exo-1400 Air and Exo-1400 Carbon
  • HJC RPHA 70
  • Shark Spartan Carbon 1.2.
  • Arai Renegade-V
  • AGV Sportmodular

best motorcycle helmets

SHOEI NEOTEC 2

We start talking about the arrival of the second generation of a myth: the Shoei Neotec 2. We could say that it is the reference modular helmetin the market for things like its multifiber shell and the luxurious interiors it presents, with perfect insulation both of the noise as of the air, something that we appreciate in a helmet designed for long trips. Also, remember that it is ready to install the SENA SLR communication system.

Shoei Neotec 2The Shoei Neotec 2 is one of the modular reference in the market. Its benefits are top.

And it is a very comfortable helmet that offers all the quality of a brand like Shoei, a top brand that stands out because its helmets are very resistant to the passage of time. The Neotec 2 is to bet on winning horse.

AGV K-1

We change radically segment because we are going to talk about the entry segment, the AGV K1. It is a very affordable full-face ideal in case you just got your motorcycle license or you are an urban user. For about 180 euros with the basic colors you can have an AGV in your motorcycle closet.

AGV K-1 Gothic 46The AGV K-1 you can get in many graphics. This is of Valentino Rossi.

It is the helmet of access of the Italian manufacturer, with thermoplastic shell, double buckle closure and has that ‘sporty touch’ of AGV characteristic in its design and in the interior padding. Like its predecessor – the AGV K3 – it comes in a lot of graphics with the colors of Valentino Rossi. Overall, it does not surprise us that it is so popular among the kids; those who now call millennials.

SCORPION EXO-1400 AIR AND EXO-1400 CARBON

If you are looking for a sport-touring helmet with guarantees suitable for almost all pockets, the Scorpion Exo-1400 Air is a good choice for several reasons: mainly, for its shell, which has a TCT structure made of fiberglass.

Scorpion Exo-1400 AirScorpion AirFit system is common in almost all brand helmets.

But you should also consider your carbon brother, the carbon fiber Exo-1400 Air Carbon. How many carbon fiber helmets are there in the market for 300 euros? Well, that.

Both have very special things, such as the Airfit system, which allows inflating and deflating the inner paddings for the best possible fit. Undoubtedly, an interesting and not so well known proposal.

HJC RPHA 70

HJC RPHA 70The HJC RPHA 70 is a multipurpose helmet. It’s good for city, as for a road route.

We continue in the sport-touring segment, but this time we tell you about a helmet with a multi-fiber shell: the HJC RPHA 70. Another very versatile full-face helmet, which is worth as much to go every day to work as for weekend getaways. Having this type of helmets is always a success if you go on a motorcycle everywhere. The RPHA 70 is definitely a hit because it is very complete, with solar visor, screen with Pinlock included, good insulation and all for a great price: just over 350 euros with the basic colors.

SHARK SPARTAN CARBON 1.2.

Shark Spartan Carbon 1.2The Carbon 1.2 version of the Shark Spartan is here. A best seller that keeps renewing itself.

Now we travel to France to talk about another helmet to consider. The Shark Spartan Carbon 1.2. It is a very compact, elegant and lightweight full-face helmet, made of a combination of fiberglass and carbon fiber. As we already told you in the complete review, the Microtech interior paddings have been redesigned with respect to the previous version.

ARAI RENEGADE-V

Arai Renegade-VThe Renegade-V has everything that is expected of an Arai: top features.

The café-racer segment is booming. You already know: long beard, hipster, bikes with retro aesthetics… Arai has created the Renegade-V that could well cover this segment. It is interesting because with the Arai Renegade-V you will have a helmet 100% Arai; at first glance it looks very similar to other models of the brand and with the super quality and safety of the Japanese brand, but it has been optimized for motorcycles without fairing (there is a lot of retro naked or scrambler type) and they have given a vintage style in the design of the chinrest, imitating the lines of the American helmets of the ’70s. It is a genuine Arai but with an aggressive style that gives it a rebellious point.

AGV SPORTMODULAR

And we close with another helmet that leaves a bit of the pattern of its segment: the AGV Sportmodular, possibly the modular helmet with the most sportive genetics of the market. You know that in Italy they are passionate about speed – even the coffee machines that are manufactured there are Racing – and the Italians of AGV have put part of that DNA in this modular helmet: it is a touring helmet with a carbon fiber shell that makes it really light.

AGV SportmodularThe AGV Sportmodular is one of the best modular helmets on the market.

There is also a detail that we like: the reversible interior (one side is designed to offer warmth and the other to be cooler). If you have done many kilometers, but you can not wash the interior, for whatever reason, then half turn and ready!

And this is our list of best helmets of 2019. We hope you write us in the comments which one is for you the best or, simply, which one you have fallen in love with and you are going to buy.

MOTO GUZZI ELDORADO

The modern and luxurious heir to the unforgettable “850” that made its fortune in the States more than 40 years ago boasts new technical content and outfitting. Eldorado, with a strong and unique tradition, is the best example of the heritage range available from the Moto Guzzi brand.
 

Eldorado is a luxurious motorcycle on the cutting-edge of technology which, powered by the largest V Twin ever manufactured in Europe, is a perfect interpretation of the most genuine Guzzi spirit. Eldorado is a true flagship in the bike world, embodying a splendid tradition in an increasingly solid present. And it does so looking decidedly to the future: chromium inserts and finely crafted details combine with LED lights and come together in classic lines that bring Moto Guzzi into a new dimension where refinement speaks Italian.

FIFTY YEARS OF HISTORY

Fifty years of history. This is the calling card of the by now legendary Moto Guzzi 90° V Twin designed by engineer Giulio Cesare Carcano. From its first appearance on the V7, this legendary powerplant has been modified into countless versions and on a vast range of motorcycles.
 
It was in the third evolution of the 90° V Twin that Moto Guzzi breathed life into the Eldorado. The year was 1972. Less than two years earlier, on the wave of a surprising supply of 750cc V7 bikes to the LAPD (the Los Angeles Police Department), the first Guzzi California was born and, on the same base, the luxurious Ambassador. In the constant displacement increase, Carcano’s twin cylinder had already been taken from 700 to 757 cc and, with a third increase in size, the 850 cc version was born. With this engine, the Eldorado was made as a replacement for the Ambassador with an even more complete, refined and luxurious model, but also one that would be able to provide a powerful and satisfying ride.
 
The goal was clearly achieved: “if Roman gods had ridden motorcycles, the Moto Guzzi Eldorado would have been chosen by Bacchus.”  In the late ’60s, this was how the American Cycle World magazine concluded their test of the luxurious Italian bike, the latest evolution of the 90° V-twin with cardan final drive just introduced in the States. The metaphor effectively highlighted the intoxication experienced on a modern, powerful, luxurious and fast bike, painstakingly studied down to the smallest details and extremely satisfying to ride.
 
More than forty years later, this extraordinary experience is repeated in the shape and substance of the Eldorado. By looking at it, one can see clearly how this Moto Guzzi has preserved all the personality of its ancestor, drawing it from the past to the future along the path of technological evolution and stylistic continuity. It is a bike that, even when it is parked, evokes the travelling spirit, the hundreds of kilometres travelled with that perfect feeling between rider and mount, as the fundamental component of the Moto Guzzi soul. A bike with a powerful identity with a fiercely proud Italian heritage which comes onto the scene as a global traveller, at home in any latitude, able to bring to mind spaces which, from coast to coast, cross over faraway continents.
 

 

This is how designer Miguel Galluzzi, who is in charge of the Piaggio Group PADC at Pasadena, introduces it: “At 95 years of glorious Moto Guzzi history, a new wind of passion has pushed us to explore new horizons for this prestigious brand, not to mention the most important milestones. Great respect for tradition combined with a search for the best possible technology and the purest Italian design leads us today in the creation of the best Moto Guzzi bikes ever built. Searching for new horizons should be understood not only in terms of technique, but also as new riding experiences. All of this is blended in the soul of the new Moto Guzzi Eldorado: a bike designed to evoke riding excitement, the joy of ownership and admiration down to the smallest details like no other bike can do.

YAHAMA TO START BANGLADESH PRODUCTION

Yamaha motorcycles will be manufactured in Bangladesh starting next year, a move which the initiators say will offer competitive prices to bikers.

It will take up the rest of this year to set up the manufacturing operations, said FH Ansarey, managing director of ACI Motors, a joint initiative of ACI Limited and Yamaha Motor Corporation bringing the Japanese brand’s two-wheelers.

Ansarey’s comment came at a launching ceremony in Le Méridien Dhaka yesterday for ACI Motors’ assembly plant for completely knocked-down kits at Sreepur in Gazipur.

Sitting on 6 acres of land, the plant took about Tk 100 crore to build and has an annual assembling target of 60,000 motorcycles.

Two models will now be assembled at the plant, said Subrata Ranjan Das, executive director of ACI Motors, adding, “Already their price has gone down in the local market.”

Inaugurating the plant as chief guest, Salman F Rahman, the prime minister’s private industry and investment advisor, termed it a milestone.

“…in a sense that two very successful and professional companies, one from Bangladesh and one from Japan, got together in a joint venture to assemble the world-class bikes,” he said.

The government wants to facilitate initiatives taken up by investors so as to increase production, he added.

“Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida) should create an environment using which any project can be implemented automatically and in a simple way,” said Rahman.

He also hoped that Bangladesh will do good in World Bank Group’s ease of doing business index, going up to 125 from this year’s ranking of 176.

There has been significant progress in many areas with the full co-operation of Bida and other government agencies, he said.

Within the next two to three weeks, entrepreneurs will be able to complete registration formalities of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms online, said Rahman.

Aminul Islam, executive chairman of Bida, said Bangladesh needed to look beyond the RMG sector should it want to graduate to a higher middle-income country.

Motorcycle assembly is such a step, he said, adding that the inaugurated plant would be a lesson for other world-class companies to engage in tie-ups with Bangladeshi companies to manufacture their products in the country.

On assembling motorcycles in Bangladesh, Yasutaka Suzuki, executive general manager of Yamaha Motor Corporation, said they put focus on customers’ confidence and never compromise on quality.

Last year 5.37 million Yamaha motorcycles were sold, he said, adding that Asia was a big market, especially Bangladesh, for its huge young generation. “So we agreed to set the plant here to provide them bikes at a fair price,” said Suzuki.

M Anis Ud Dowla, chairman of ACI Group, said the government has made a supportive assembling policy for the private sector. “It needs to remain consistent for a period,” he said. Arif Dowla, the group’s managing director, also spoke at the event.

DUCATI DIAVEL 1260S

2019-Ducati-Diavel-1260-S-First-look-crusier-motorcycle-3

It’s not easy to categorize the Ducati Diavel. Since its introduction on the market in 2010, this muscular Italian bike was born to defy concepts, and with motorcyclists around the world accepting the innovative concept, Ducati’s decision proved to be a good one. The Diavel created a new segment and broke preconceived ideas about this type of motorcycles. She created what Ducati says it’s a muscle bike, and the inspiration for their latest version is the classic American muscle cars.

The main goal for Ducati this year was to create a bike that mixed some characteristics of three different bikes. A bit like what they did with the Multistrada, a model the Italian brand says it’s a “4 in 1”, but in the case of the Diavel it’s a “3 in 1”. So, the new Diavel presents herself as a sporty naked, as a relaxed cruiser, and also as a sportbike.

To achieve this goal, Ducati has used on the new Diavel a set of features sourced from each of these three different type of bike: from the current sportbikes the Diavel gets inspiration for the lower body, side fairings, and the upswept rear. From the sporty naked like the Monster, the Diavel gets the high and wide handlebar and that big fuel tank. And from cruiser bikes, the Diavel gets a big wheelbase and low seat.

The engine installed on the trellis frame works as a structural element. It’s the well-known Testastretta L-Twin with 1262 cc that we’ve already seen being used on the Carbon and Titanium versions of the Diavel. Its performance is improved through the new intake, exhaust, injection. Everything was done to allow the engine to develop 159 hp at 9500 rpm, while torque goes up to 129 Nm at 7500 rpm.

But more than the numbers shown on the tech specs, what impresses the most on this engine is the way we are allowed to explore it. That’s because Ducati is now using the fantastic Desmodromic Variable Timing (DVT). With this system in place, the Testastretta shows strength and power at any rpm.

From 2500 rpm the engine just revs up really fast, and up until 7500 rpm I did notice that the twin-cylinder engine develops much more torque than before. And even over the 7500 rpm mark, where the engine reaches its peak torque, the rpm’s will keep on rising without any problem until the rev limiter reveals itself near the 10.000 rpm mark.

As I said, this behavior of this Italian engine is great, and that’s the work of the DVT system. The DVT allows Ducati to constantly change and adapt the timing of the valve’s opening. The camshafts are rotated through a hydraulic actuator. The amount of oil inside the actuator controls the opening of the valves.

At lower revs, the DVT allows for a small overlap on intake and exhaust valves, smoothening the power delivery of the engine. But as speed grows and the rpm’s also getting higher, the DVT will allow for a greater overlap and that way the rider will get the full power of the 159 hp. On the original Diavel the engine was a bit rough, but on the new Diavel 1260 S the engine is really smooth and linear in the way it delivers its power and torque.

To let me discover the new Diavel 1260 S, the version that gets better components, Ducati invited me to travel to some of the best roads in Spain, in Marbella and Ronda. The riding position isn’t as relaxed as a pure cruiser, so the rider needs to lean over the fuel tank to reach the wide handlebars. The rearsets are now higher and further back than before, meaning I had to flex the legs a bit more than on the older Diavel. But the exhaust headers are now hidden below the engine, so it’s easy to find a position to hide the legs near the engine.

Over the first few kilometers, I’ve opted to go in Urban riding mode. With Urban, the Diavel 1260 S only delivers 100 hp. And the electronic riding aids are much intrusive. It was the perfect way to start my day aboard the Diavel 1260 S.

The wide seat, which is covered in suede on the S version and features the Diavel logo on aluminum plate, is comfortable enough and its design allows for taller riders to find a great riding position. It lets us feel like part of the bike. At just 780 mm in height, the seat is pretty low, and that’s a good thing while riding in urban areas or maneuvering the Diavel on tight places.

But the relaxed riding didn’t last long. The Ducati lead rider showed us the way to find what I can only describe as motorcycle heaven. Soon we were riding along some of the best roads in the Ronda mountains. That was the moment to switch to Sport riding mode. As soon as the system accepted my commands, I immediately felt the Diavel 1260 S being more reactive to my inputs, and throttle response is much more immediate than before. We need to be careful at small throttle openings since the engine will deliver its torque really fast, but that massive 240 mm Pirelli Diablo Rosso III rear tyre will manage the 129 Nm of torque with ease.

I didn’t feel the loss of grip for most of the journey, but on some polished sections of asphalt in Ronda, the eight-level adjustable traction control worked well helping me to keep the Diavel 1260 S on the ideal line. The traction control doesn’t cut the power delivery too much, and I’ve only noticed it was working through the many yellow and red lights blinking on the new 3,5-inch TFT screen.

It’s also in Sport riding mode that I was able to use the premium components featured on the Diavel 1260 S. This version gets Öhlins suspensions front and back. They have a stiffer setting from the factory, but that’s a good thing since the Diavel still weighs 244 kg wet, meaning the suspensions do need to be stiff to manage all that weight moving around. Even with all that weight, I didn’t feel the Diavel heavy. The low center of gravity helps to hide those 244 kg, and the handlebars allow for ease of movements, without much effort, while dancing from corner to corner.

It’s not as agile as a sportbike, but it does handle tight corners pretty well for a bike with 1600 mm wheelbase. We need to get used to the mass, and the initial moment of leaning into a corner can be a bit tricky. But as soon as the Diavel is leaned on the right trajectory, it will hold the line without a problem. At least until the rearsets start touching the asphalt.

The last part of the 220 km journey was a bit tighter than usual. Slow second gear corners almost all the way to the “finish line”. That was again a moment to change to a new riding mode: Touring. Of all the three riding modes, this is the one that I like the most. It still lets the Testastretta to develop the full 159 hp, but at the same time, the throttle response is smoother than in Sport.

Tight corner means the brakes need to be perfect. Or at least near perfect. And that’s exactly what we get on the Ducati Diavel 1260 S! The brakes are sourced from Brembo. It’s a sportbike level brake system, with large diameter brake discs and Brembo M50 monoblock calipers at the front. Combined with PR16/19 master cylinder, this means I was able to brake really late into the corner and keep pushing the brakes for 85 km without feeling any brake fade.

The ABS with cornering function does miracles. You can feel the ABS working through some light lever vibrations, but that’s it. The rest of the time the brakes will offer great feedback and braking power, allowing to ride this Italian muscle bike really fast even on tight roads.

I’ve also been impressed with the new Ducati Quickshift system. On this S version, it’s factory equipment, and after riding the Diavel for over 200 kms I’d say it’s almost impossible to not have a Diavel fitted with this quickshift. At lower gears (1st to 2nd) the transmission will still be abrupt, but past that point and I almost didn’t feel the gear changes. And even when going down the gears the feeling is basically the same.

I end my review on the Ducati Diavel 1260 S going back to the beginning of my text. The Diavel is, now more than before, a bike that mixes three different types of motorcycles into one. It’s not a cruiser, but the long wheelbase allows for good straight-line stability. It’s not a naked like a Monster because of its sheer weight, but the riding position is very similar to the Monster. It’s also not a sportbike, it doesn’t offer big lean angles and over 200 hp. But the components are almost like the ones we find on a superbike, as are the electronic riding aids.

With near perfect quality components and fit, the Ducati Diavel 1260 S is a premium bike that deserves a lot of credit for changing the way we look and ride this kind of motorcycles. It’s expensive, but then again, what you’ll get for your money is well worth the effort!

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